How to Put on a Dog Harness

By John Myers / August 10, 2021

Putting a harness on a dog may seem like a simple task, but it can sometimes prove to be tricky. While some well-behaved dogs and simple harnesses can make the process straightforward, complex harnesses and uncooperative dogs may require extra patience. Both you and your furry friend may need time to adjust and find a comfortable, efficient way to put on the harness.

It’s worth noting that there are two types of harnesses, each requiring a different method for proper attachment. As such, it’s essential to know how to put on a dog harness correctly to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort.

Achieving the right fit is crucial, as an incorrectly fitted harness can cause discomfort, restrict breathing, and even result in injury. In this article, we will discuss the best methods for putting on a dog harness and why it’s important to do so correctly.

Why Should You Know How to Put a Dog Harness On

A dog harness is a great item that can help you in walking, running and hiking with your pup. It’s one of the best things to get your pet if you learn how to use it the right way. If you misuse it, it can cause many different problems.

Most of the time, when a canine is uncomfortable in a harness, we confuse the cause of its behavior for something else. If it feels discomfort, your pooch will pull on the leash to ease the pain.

If you put a harness on the wrong way, your pet may end up with tight muscles. You can limit its body motion and cause imbalance.

Imagine constantly walking your pooch like that and the problems it could cause in the future.

Puppy holding a harness

If you put it on incorrectly, it will irritate your canine in many ways, causing your pet to dislike wearing it altogether. That’s why it’s important to know how to put on a dog harness.

Imagine not tightening the harness enough and your canine escapes into all kinds of dangerous situations.

Although these are only some of the many reasons, they are very serious. The last thing you want is your pet to dislike its time outdoors.

Having a harness is useful, but if you fail to use them correctly then you may encounter problems.

As mentioned, there are two types, and each works differently.

However, none of these steps are complicated, and once you figure it out the first time, it will all take only a few seconds.


large dog in step-in harnessThese are usually the best for dogs that pull on a leash since they don’t put as much pressure on the neck area.

  • Unbuckle it and lay it flat on the floor
  • Put your pet over the harness
  • Place your dog’s front paws in loops. If there are specific instructions that tell you where to place each paw, make sure to follow them
  • Snap the buckle together to lock the harness


This type of a harness is ideal for small breeds that don’t pull on a leash, or larger but calm and well-behaved dogs.

  • Slip your pet’s head through the neck loop
  • Pull the bottom straps under the belly
  • Pull the top strap across its back
  • Connect the buckles together

Below, is a video by Pet Circle on how to put on a dog harness properly.

How to Place and Adjust the Straps on a Dog Harness

close-up dog in harnessThe straps must never put pressure or cause discomfort. The best thing to do is have the straps on your dog’s chest and below the throat.

Make sure that the side straps are also in place because if not, they can cause irritation and discomfort.

Most harnesses come with adjustable straps so you can create a better fit precisely for your pet.

Use the buckles to tighten and adjust the straps, but make sure you can fit two fingers between them and your pup.

It’s important you adjust everything until it fits your pooch. You want to make sure it’s tight enough to ensure safety, but also loose enough to prevent irritation and discomfort

. This is one of the most important things to consider when learning how to put on a dog harness.

Related Post: How Tight Should a Dog’s Collar Be?

Practice Makes Perfect!

dog in harnessOf course, if you’ve never used one before, you’ll need some time on learning how to put on a dog harness properly. Your canine will probably need some time to get used to it, too, so make sure to give it time.

Putting a harness on that’s not trained or is playful may come as a challenge from time to time.

However, once you both get used to it, you’ll find it much better than a standard dog leash that only goes around the neck.

Simply make sure to check all buckles and adjust the straps.

If your pet animal is misbehaving, it’s maybe just trying to ease the discomfort and irritation that the harness is causing.

Maybe you’ll have to try several different brands until you find what works the best for you and your pet.

Nonetheless, don’t forget the importance of a well-made, quality harness that helps your canine enjoy safe and comfortable walks, adventurous hikes , and energizing jogs. We hope you enjoyed reading our how to put on a dog harness guide.

Related Post: Best Dog Harness For Running
                            Best Dog Harness For Hiking

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About the author

John Myers

When I'm not working, you can find me spending all my time with my dogs. My dogs mean the world to me, and I do my best to give them the world. I'll do anything for them. I hope that my love for dogs can spread with everyone else that visits my site.

1comment - May 10, 2019

The dog harness is a great product to maintain pet safety. Harnesses overcome the use of the collars as these are less likely to be broken as compared to the collars.

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